Travel Blog

Sleeping Bags

sleeping bagsThere are three components that contribute the most weight when it comes to back packing and hiking. They are the “big three;” the backpack, shelter and sleeping bag and that is assuming that you have managed your clothing down to the minimum.  Select an ultralight sleeping bag because an ultralight backpacking adds the least weight and believe me you will understand after you have carried a heavy sleeping bag around for several hours.. The days of five-pound summer bags are gone – at least for those of us who prefer to go light when hiking, camping or backpacking around the country.

One Pound Ultralight Sleeping Bags

There are many one-pound ultralight sleeping bags on the market now. One we looked at actually weighs 19 ounces with the stuff sack, however stuff sacks aren’t always necessary. You can be stuff the sleeping bag directly into your pack or put it  in a half-ounce bread bag. Down sleeping bags will keep you warm down to below freezing – warmer, in fact, than many four-pound bags.

Ultra light sleeping bags appear fragile, however if you baby it they will last for many years. They can be used from sea-level to 16,000 feet, in all types of weather, usually camping under a tarp. The zipper goes only half-way down, to save weight, and it’s a mummy bag, were even some of the larger guys will still feel comfortable in them.

Summer Bags vs. Winter Bags

Sleeping bags weighing around a pound are summer bags, rated down to 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A quick check of the newest bags out there, though, shows that even one or two of the 0 degree bags are under three pounds now. These are down filled bags, of course, as down is still the lightest insulation for its weight. If you are allergic to feathers, you may want to consider synthetic filled bags to avoid sneezing all night and waking up with runny eyes.

Another big advantage of any down sleeping bag is it’s compressibility. Nothing packs smaller than down. However, a good synthetic bag is probably better than down if you are regularly getting it wet.

Synthetic Sleeping Bags

Several synthetic-fill sleeping bags now come close to down in their warmth-to-weight ratio. At least one summer bag, using Polar guard fill, weighs an even 16 ounces. That’s amazingly light for a synthetic bag. Again if you are allergic to feathers, definitely go with a synthetic ultra light bag.

Using Ultralight Sleeping Bags

Ultralight sleeping bags generally aren’t tough. The lighter the bag, the more fragile, but treat them gently, and they work fine. They will last  for many years, in snow and rain, if you baby these things, and they can last a long time.

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One Response to “Sleeping Bags”

  1. I really need a new sleeping bag. Can you believe my buddy wet himself inside my sleeping bag that I loaned him. Too much to drink, lol

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